You’ve decided that you want to pursue an asset management project with the help of a consultant. Read this tip sheet if you want to:

  • Learn how to actively engage with the consultant to ensure that the outcomes meet your needs
  • Better understand how your asset management deliverable is being developed
  • Build knowledge and employee capacity internally while working with the consultant
  • Be ready to take the next steps in your asset management journey once the consultant’s work is complete

A common challenge: If employees are not engaged during the project planning stage and if they don’t work with the consultant during the project, you may find that the deliverables don’t dovetail with your municipality’s needs, or that you are not prepared to follow through with next steps. 

Tips and strategies

Three people talking at a tableTo ensure that deliverables are truly useful and employees can take the next steps:

Involve employees in planning the project, work closely with the consultant throughout the project, and put a concrete plan in place for training, implementation and next steps.

Before the project begins:

  • Brief all relevant municipal parties on the project (e.g. council, employees from varying departments).
    • Begin with a briefing on asset management, if necessary (see "Tools for introducing employees and council to asset management" below).
    • In the consultant’s scope of work, require a presentation or workshop by the consultant to introduce employees (and possibly council) to the project. This can help to establish engagement, align expectations and ensure open communication.
  • Involve employees from the beginning (and throughout the project) to cultivate buy-in and ownership of the project. 
    • Get the team’s input on the Request for Proposals (RFP) so that they understand the work to be done, their role and its importance to the community.
    • Acknowledge and communicate the level of effort that may be needed to provide the consultant with information required to complete the work.

"By including all departments in our asset management training, strategy development sessions, and council session, their key personnel are now on board with and fully engaged in our Asset Management Implementation Strategy."

 – Municipality of the District of Bonnyville No. 87, AB (population 11,661)

  • Put a strategy and schedule in place for communicating progress with employees and council. This will assist in keeping the project on schedule, communicating success, and keeping the municipal team connected to progress.
  • Plan for implementation or follow-up.
    • Build steps into the scope of the work that will help you prepare for next steps once the consultant service is complete.
    • Include an evaluation and planning milestone at 80 percent project completion. At this time, consultants can work with key team members and advise on a plan for next steps.

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Anticipate what your needs will be once the project is complete—and plan for them. For example, include employee training in the project plan, either as part of the consultant’s scope of work or as a next step following the project.

 

Video: Why invest in asset managementTools for introducing employees and council to asset management: Video and presentation

If your municipality is new to asset management, brief council and employees on its benefits so that they understand the value of the work you are about to undertake. This short video and customizable presentation can help.

During the project:

  • Make time for employees to be involved in the project. For example, end users can shadow the consultant or receive training from the consultants.
  • Keep relevant employees in the loop and involved in any processes that they will be expected to continue as part of their role. 
    • Consider offering short milestone presentations to the wider employee audience (and council if appropriate) as part of the project.
  • Offer internal training on any new tools, data or processes, if needed.

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Working with a consultant is also an opportunity to build your municipal team’s asset management knowledge and skills by engaging them in the process. The most effective strategy for success in knowledge transfer and effective implementation post-project is to have the consultant work alongside municipal employees. 

"It was much better to train in a group and get others on [the] management team involved because in the past it was mostly just a financial role. [This] expands the knowledge of the management team and ensures that they are a part of managing their assets within their departments."

– Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen, ON (population 4,530)

As the project wraps up:

  • Ensure that any recommendations align with your municipality’s strategic objectives.
  • Complete a final review of the deliverables and compare them with the contract. 
  • Have the end users participate in evaluating the quality of the work and identify any questions they may have.
  • Ensure that knowledge has been transferred, so that you can take the next steps within your organization, or have a plan in place for internal training.
  • Make sure you understand the actions needed to move forward and have a plan for next steps in place.

After project completion:

  • Communicate results and next steps to council and employees. If you hold a presentation (internally or externally), have employees lead the presentation. If appropriate, ask the consultant to present alongside you.
  • Plan and follow through with next steps and continue the work internally. Hold periodic team meetings to keep next steps on track.

Business papers on a tablePreparing the team with training: Municipality of Neebing, ON

The Municipality of Neebing, ON (population 2,055), hired an engineering consultant to train employees on how to complete condition assessments for municipal assets. This provided valuable in-house knowledge, so that the municipality would not have to hire someone every time it needed to update the data. The team can now better evaluate the condition of assets as they work through an area, rather than taking a large block of time to evaluate all the assets at once.

More tips for working with asset management consultants
Read all three of our tip sheets to discover more ideas on how to avoid challenges, get the most value, and articulate what you need to make your project a success when working with an asset management consultant.
Woman and man working together in front of a computer
Tips to help you clearly define and communicate your objectives to consultants

Are you thinking of developing a Request for Proposals for an asset management project? Would you like some guidance on defining your scope? Discover key tips to help you meet your objectives.

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Tips to ensure you can edit, adapt and share the finished work

Are you working with a consultant on an asset management project—and do you want to make sure you can update the deliverables in the future? Read our tips on how to address this concern in your Request for Proposals and contract.

Additional resources
See related asset management resources.
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Detailed approach for selecting a professional consultant

Are you looking for a technical and detailed, best practice approach for selecting a professional asset management consultant? Download the Selecting a Professional Consultant document from the InfraGuide report series.

© 2021 Federation of Canadian Municipalities